The first Pre-Season game is in the books for the Oakland Raiders, and they performed much better than expected. There were some not so great moments as well, but it’s to be expected with 60 new players on the team. The debut of Matt Flynn and the first team offense was solid. Flynn commanded the first team and moved down the field well. The start was shaky though, because the blocking broke down, Flynn was sacked, and he fumbled the football. However, he picked himself back up and began to find a rhythm. Denarius Moore and Rod Streater ran good routes and made some decent catches. Darren McFadden didn’t get many carries and he had a hard time getting anything going, but he caught a nice swing pass from Flynn and turned it into a nice gain.
Terrelle Pryor utilized his running ability well, and the packages in place for Pryor definitely had some good results. He was throwing the ball well at first, and then he made a poor decision by throwing across his body for an interception. Even with the interception, Pryor looked poised and showed a lot of growth.
The biggest quarterback surprise of the night was the performance of Matt McGloin. The undrafted free agent rookie definitely looked like he had been playing in the NFL for a couple of years. His arm strength is better than I initially thought, and he was very poised in the pocket. The touchdown pass to Brice Butler was exciting to watch and was very accurate. The Raiders may have a QB gem in their possession if he can continue to play this well.
Speaking of Brice Butler, the Raiders 7th round draft pick of 2013 looked really good. His route running was clean and he showed a lot of quickness in his breakaway. If he continues to develop and play at this level, we will see a lot of him in the regular season. Other standouts of the night were LB-Sio Moore, DE-David Bass, RB-Rashad Jennings, TE-David Ausberry, S-Usama Young, and DB-Taiwan Jones.
Sio Moore was electrifying to watch in the game. His sack on Tony Romo was awesome. It was obvious that the right tackle was not ready for Moore’s quickness, because he had to hold him in order to keep him from penetrating the line. In Head Coach Dennis Allen’s press conference, he was asked if Moore would be used much like the Denver Broncos Von Miller is used and he said, “I’m not comparing him (Sio Moore) to Von Miller who I had in Denver, but I can definitely see that being a function that he could potentially provide.” I know that I definitely saw the potential of Moore in the game, how about you Raider Nation?
The defense as a whole performed pretty well. Between the first, second, and third teams they only allowed 17 points. As a whole, I felt the defense was much improved. The secondary play by the first string defense was far better than the 2012 team. The only question I have is Joselio Hanson in the nickel defensive back spot, but I think that will change when D.J. Hayden is healthy enough to play. The linebackers tackled and dropped back in coverage well enough. I didn’t see much over pursuit by the first team linebackers, and I was pleased about that. Our defensive line is the big question mark, but it’s hard to evaluate it without Lamarr Houston, Vance Walker, or Pat Sims playing. Until these players are healthy, we won’t see the true potential that the defensive line will bring to each game.
The other thing we won’t see this Pre-Season, is the full offensive and defensive plays that have been installed. We will see the basic packages and that’s about it. However, this gives us a good look at player development, and we can make a fair evaluation of where our team will stand at the beginning of the regular season. After last nights performance, and win, I feel pretty good about the direction the Raiders are headed.
Tags: Brice Butler Dallas Cowboys Darren McFadden David Bass Denarius Moore Dennis Allen Denver Broncos Joselio Hanson Lamarr Houston Matt Flynn Matt McGloin Oakland Raiders Pat Sims Raider Nation Rashad Jennings Rod Streater Sio Moore Terrelle Pryor Tony Romo Usama Young Vance Walker Von Miller